Internet Explorer 11 is being packed into and rolled out with Windows 8.1
, though you can already check out a pre-release version in the Windows 8.1 Developer Preview as well as on Windows 7. Should you do that, you'll discover that IE11 is capable of plug-in free audio and video streaming based on the latest HTML5
code, which Microsoft
claims allows the browser to achieve "Professional Quality Video," or video that's equally suited for home use as it is for premium TV shows and movies.
"With Professional Quality Video, streams start promptly and play smoothly," Microsoft stated in a blog post. "The best video quality possible with your device and network is automatically selected, and premium movies play just like any other video. Videos can be consumed at home or on the go. You can listen to quality audio for the full experience, or watch the video with captions for privacy. And, this great experience does not require you to sacrifice battery life."
You can check out what Microsoft's talking about on Netflix
. The streaming TV and movie provider worked with Microsoft on a new version of its premium video service built entirely on new web standard features, and as a result, Netflix and its catalog of titles work without plug-ins using IE11 on Windows 8.1.
Up until recently, the HTML5 standard lacked support for Professional Quality Video, thereby forcing users to turn to Adobe Flash or Microsoft Silverlight. That made it difficult for web developers to deliver consistent video experiences across different browsers. Given Microsoft's history, it's certainly interesting (and refreshing) to see the company pushing web standards in IE.